There Will Be No Impeachment, But There Should Be

February 12, 2021

Well there it is. Trump defense attorneys were well prepared and just made incredibly valid points supporting their claim that he should not be impeached by the senate for the capital siege. They are in the process of presenting countless examples of extremist calls for violence and uprisings by people on the left as a means to justify and defend Trump’s words and actions.
The unfortunate result will be a stalemate that leaves America ever more prone and vulnerable to further violence as the people on both sides fight amongst themselves for some kind of middle ground.
As someone who’s been in the center of large marches and protests all over the country for the last 25 years I will freely admit that yes we were always aware that we were primarily comprised of people either on the left or staunchly independent — it never occurred to us that Republicans would take to the streets. Activism and grass roots movements seemed to always belong to the radical left. It was a given. Taken for granted.
And though we never participated in any kind of violence or vandalism we were always keenly aware those activities followed grassroots movements around. We witnessed it constantly and always tried to dissuade others from doing it.
Yes the BLM movement was often punctuated by incessant violence throughout the summer. I personally expressed concern repeatedly on social media about us having to fall asleep to the sound of bombs and gunshots all night for months in NYC, and witnessed three men gun down another in the street right in front of me. A surreal and traumatizing event. Posted it to Instagram. Didn’t feel like it helped our mission.
After two and half decades active in mass change movements I have almost come to expect and accept that a little bit of violence and vandalism is a natural part of the path towards massive sociopolitical change in our culture.
Do I feel differently now that those on the right have suddenly woken up to discover the value of activism? Let me answer it this way: mid-summer I was so frustrated by and pissed off at elected officials on both sides of the aisle for not doing anything to pass stimulus quicker for the millions of Americans who were hurting, while corporations were receiving billions of aid, that I seriousky considered promoting a campaign of mass vandalism of banks, financial institutions and governmental buildings. I would be the first to do it to inspire others.
But before I acted I reached out to several trusted friends to ask them what they thought of my plan. They all encouraged me to NOT do it. They said I could achieve the same results and help express peoples’ discontent through cooler less violent means. More aligned with The Ambassador. So I didnt proceed. Looking back I am grateful for those friends and their sage advice.
And that’s where I come down in regards to the Right’s sudden discovery of street activism. Activists are notoriously smart. Intimidatingly so usually. I can tell you that personally from experience. They’re well read on the issues and well informed.
There were and are two distinct groups active for Black Lives Matter: one was the initial emotional RE-action of the mob, highlighted by quick impulses to commit violence vandalism and mayhem, a phenomenon we often see whenever humanity encounters events that are shocking and atrocious. The other was the more subdued and rational but resolute actions in the streets by the majority who chose to peacefully march chant and carry signs for months everyday to get the basic message across: Black Lives Matter.
The problem with the Trump supporters’ sudden foray into activism were multifold: what they were protesting was a lie. There was no stolen election. There was no underlying issue they were fighting for. They had been deceived and they hadn’t taken the time to research the issue itself. Secondly, their initial response was a primitive irrational and emotional rush to violence which ultimately killed 6 people.
Behind every street protest you see there is always a compound of insanely intelligent folks in rooms working the research, the phones, communicating with the media, honing and steering the message and the ship at large. They inform how those in the street act and what they do. They give intelligent data and direction to the people in the streets so it’s not just unplugged emotion and pandemonium.
The mob that stormed the capital on January 6th had no inteligencia posted in a room guiding them or giving them direction. If they had they wouldn’t have stormed the capital. They would have understood like the majority of Americans that there was no underlying issue to protest. They also would have chosen a safer, less violent, more intelligent and compassionate and more creative manner to express their dissent (had their dissent been in any way justifiable, which it wasn’t.)
Consider for a moment the massive Women’s Marches and Anti-Trump Marches we witnessed the week after the Trump inauguration in 2017. Both Princess little tree and I were in those marches. We were millions strong. All over the United States. No one got hurt. The issue was valid. The message was clear — we support women, immigrants, Muslims, Latinos and the LGBTQ community and we object to Trump’s policies that deny their rights. The spectacle was creative. The events were peaceful.
The marches and protests and activism exhibited by pro-Trump supporters over the last four year’s have been consistently plagued by violence ugliness and an underlying xenophobic racist and homophobic tone. It’s undeniable. It doesn’t imply that all republicans share those views. But the onus is on every single Republican to shake loose the stain that Trump has left on the party by his refusal to reject or denounce the actions taken in his name by these groups of misguided thugs.
The GOP will never again garner the respect of Americans or the world if it does not take this action decisively. And until such time those of us who’ve been in the trenches of grassroots activism for years will always look upon any attempt at activism by those on the right with fear and trepidation.
The goal of activism is a noble goal. The mission is founded in purity of heart, compassion, peace, intelligence; it is well thought out and it never resorts to violence. Most importantly it has an underlying issue it supports that it believes is vital. It is not blind. It is not a mob. It is never waged behind the false and incoherent ramblings of a madman or a sore loser spewing lies.
Regarding the senate impeachment hearing of Donald Trump, at this point it doesn’t matter what we believe one way or the other. Their defense team’s arguments have been enough for senate members on the right to feel safe and justified to vote no to impeaching.
Truth is we’ve been heading down a road of more and more violence in the streets from both sides. Both sides feeling justified. And both sides are justified in feeling “horrified” by what they’ve seen by those who they perceive as being “the enemy”.
The problem America may face after these proceedings is a shared feeling of righteous justification to incite further violence and insurrection in the streets and against our elected leaders and governmental seats nationwide. This is the big risk Republican lawmakers face. Through their fear of retribution by Trump supporters in their own party and through their cowardly desire to maintain their seats of power, their no votes may be viewed as condoning the barbarous acts of January 6th, inflicting an increase of violence on American life in the months and years to come.
If you ask me I believe we just barely escaped the worst outcomes after the disturbing attempts made by radicals on the right to threaten the lives and homes of elected officials as they tried to reverse the election results. In my humble opinion things never would have veered so far astray had those on the right not been lied to repeatedly about a “stolen election” by the president, or if he hadn’t repeatedly encouraged such behavior or even if he would have just chosen at some point to talk his supporters down for the sake and safety of the country.
I am reminded of that rally in ‘08 when a McCain supporter yelled out “Obama is an Arab islamic terrorist!” and an obviously disturbed McCain nobly spoke up and reprimanded the man saying “Hey hey we don’t say those kinds of things. That’s not true. It’s not true.” I was so proud to be American in that moment.
Unfortunately for all of us Trump was never able to embody the integrity decency or nobility of John McCain. And because of that unfortunate fact his supporters and the GOP itself has lost all memory of those once cherished values. Fortunately, Joe Biden seems to be cut from the same cloth as McCain and is now displaying for us all how valuable those values are. He embodies them.
The problem is that Trump never stepped up to the role of president to decry or denounce the barbarous acts taken in his name on January 6th. Instead he looked upon them with glee and enthusiasm. He praised those who perpetrated them, going so far as saying he loved them. He never spoke up to defend the constitution or the democratic ideals that govern us by simply announcing that the results of the election appear in all manner to be legitimate and that he humbly accepts the loss and encourages his supporters to do the same. He never acknowledged that Joe Biden is now the president.
Because of these unfortunate facts we may be facing an unparalleled escalation of violence in the streets and against public officials by rightwing extremists who still believe the big lie that Trump has never taken back. I must admit I am fearful for our president, for our Speaker, for the former Vice President and for anyone on either side who doesn’t happen to side with Trump or his murderous band of extremist thugs.
It is also for the above reasons that I believe that a good case can be made for the senate to impeach Trump and be perfectly justified. Forget whether he instigated or incited the siege on our nations capital. The real crux of his unforgivable and treasonous transgressions is that he stood by and did nothing while his supporters perpetrated the crimes.

And he never once had the integrity honor or even patriotism of a valid president to denounce their heinous actions on that day. We would expect no less from a president. And yet he couldn’t find within him an ounce of that courage or moral fiber to do what we all not only expect but need as a nation. That’s reason enough to impeach and convict the man. As sad as it may be for all of us, it is vital and necessary.

Death Man, Death. Death Is In, Death Is In

February 6, 2021

2 weeks ago we were down in Florida due to our dad passing away from the virus. Got home Monday and the next day we learned that our eldest cousin, my uncle’s firstborn, passed away suddenly. A few days later my buddy Stretch called me crying because he just learned his 30 year old nephew had died. A few days later our drummer Infinito learned that his mom had died from the virus down in Bolivia. We spoke this morning, both of us crying. He’s devastated. Justifiably so.
As I type all this it seems impossible that it can all be real. Denial. I’ve been sick with various maladies for a few weeks. Saw four different doctors this week. Hard to even keep track of the different things we’re talking to the doctors about. It’s occurred to me that this physical breakdown is probably due to the impossible task of trying to mentally and emotionally integrate this bombardment of tragedy and death everywhere.
One death overshadows the one before and so on. And then you come back to that prior one. And then back to the next one and the next. An endless cycle.
What I’ve been trying to do at a minimum is stay in touch with family and friends as much as possible to communicate with and support them through this hard time. Physically I’m down for the count. I think that’s part of the process. Mentally I’m in a foggy daze. Not even aure what I feel. I know what I’m supposed to feel. But it’s too much. Too heavy.
My brother texted me earlier and just wrote “horrible times man” about all of it. There’s a part of me that wants to acknowledge that. Hard to argue with it. Another part of me wants to believe that any minute we’re going to come out of it and everything is going to be great again. And admittedly things are “great” for some people; those who haven’t been touched in any way by the virus.
Though I do believe we were all traumatized if not permanently scarred by the surreal insanity and horror of the last four years we just came out of. For many of us we weren’t around for the tragedy and chaos of the 60s or vietnam or watergate etc. These were just stories we read about years later. We didn’t fully understand the deep seated trauma those years had on society or each person individually. It really wasn’t until the last few years that we had a personal experience of it ourselves.
That kind of shock and horror. A visceral experience. The way it kept builidng, each day worse than the last, going to bed each night and waking up everyday for years terrified of what we’d hear next from the White House. The way it continued to get worse and worse and culminated in a horrific tragic and terrifying ending on January 6th.
I’d like to report that the survival of the republic as evidenced by the surreal inauguration healed all the wounds inflected. Granted it was a relief. They tried hard. They did their best. We all did. But we’ll always look back at those weeks as a swirling mess of emotions. How could we not? We had just come out of the capital riots and mass deaths were still circling our day to day lives hourly.
As valiant an attempt as the inauguration tried to be — and it had many moments, it couldn’t, and shouldn’t, dispel the shock we had and have all lived through. A part of me feels that we owe it to ourselves and to those who passed to remember. To grieve. To mourn. To contemplate. Not forever perhaps. But definitely not cut it too short.
Frankly I’m not sure I’d be able to cut it short even if I wanted to. I’m trying to do what’s right. To feel what’s right. To be respectful of the near half a million of our fellow citizens who have died this past year.
And as well to honor the anger I feel toward the pansy-assed members of the GOP who didn’t have the courage or nobility to stand up for what’s right or sacred in our democracy. I miss guys like John McCain a lot. Mitt Romney comes to mind. Thank God for him. But we need more of them. It can’t just be 5 to 10 Republicans out of tens of millions who see things straight. What’s to stop it from happening again?
I can hear friends now advising me that I’m confusing and conflating the issues. This mass explosion of death all around us with the deeply divided politics destroying us from within. But it’s hard for me not to. Both events have deeply affected us. I’ll never dismissively ignore division or coups or civil wars in other countries again, as if “it’s not my business”.
Nor will I ever again take for granted the cooperative peace and unity we enjoy in the U.S. That’s something to cherish and work on maintaining. It’s a noble goal.
In my mind i keep hearing that scene from All That Jazz play… “Death man… death man… Death is in… death is in….” If we picture the Vietnam memorial in DC, as large and foreboding as it is, we’d need ten of those to honor the fallen of just the past year. None of us are getting away from that reality unscathed. Only the coldest and most heartless among us perhaps.
Don’t get me wrong. I want to. I’m beyond overwhelmed and over it like everyone else. People are now starting to talk about the coming “roaring 20s”… I find it hard to go there still being surrounded by so many passing. It feels disrespectful.
In Tenet, people from the future are willing to destroy everyone in the past in order to save themselves in the future. Part of me feels like that’s what we’re trying to do now… Sacrificially ignoring everyone who has stacked up in the afterlife in order to move on with all of us who are “still alive”.
But that may just be part of the grieving and integration process. I get that. I think it may come down to those who have lost someone and those who haven’t. At some point we do all have to move on. If we had any hard proof of an afterlife maybe we could pick and choose… But we don’t. So the only thing we do have is our innate instinct as organic life forms to keep going, here, in life. We owe it to them I suppose. Or not. I’m torn about that theory frankly. Again, probably part of the grieving process.
I guess what it comes down to for me is this deeply rooted feeling that we need to do our absolute best to honor those who passed this past 12 months.
We didn’t do a good job of it over the last year. Due to inept leadership we ignored and denied and dishonored our dead because it wasn’t “politically convenient”. It was the greatest shared national shame I’ve ever experienced since I’ve been alive.
Luckily that’s changed. But we still have work to do. We need to acknowledge our shared loss, name them in our hearts and out loud, remember them, honor them, recognize that it’s okay that we miss them and love them and mourn for them. And then eventually, hopefully, we can all heal.

It’s Not Cancel Culture. It’s Course Correction. And It’s Been a Long Time Coming

February 3, 2021

There are a lot of legends and myths being promoted at the moment in America. For a variety of different reasons. All of them selfish and none of them helpful to the greater good. We have to be careful about what we hear and how we allow it to affect us. Often times the most popular “celebrities” aren’t the most talented, the most celebrated songs shows and movies aren’t the best or highest quality. We live in age now where the most famous are not of any historic import. And the most important historical figures aren’t even famous

The popular memes and narratives propagated by the media are often temporary lobs they throw up to see if they stick, their primary goal being to get attention for themSELVES, in order to make more money for themselves. We make a fatal error when mistakenly assuming their goal is to inform or educate, or improve society in any way.

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What We Focus On Forms Who We Are

February 1, 2021
In the mid-90s just after Broken Spectacles broke up I felt a little lost for a while. We were all going to go solo from there. I wasnt quite sure what my “thing” was after being part of the “Eddie and Matt” monster for so long.
Caught a local Marilyn Manson show one night… Cant remember why. Brian was a fellow scenester, but it wasn’t our style of music. Just something to do. Turns out that show had a major impact on me and the direction I would go in over the next decade.
What I witnessed that night was similar to many other Manson shows thru the years. An onslaught of shock schtick pain hatred horror and extreme negativity. All in the name of doing something different to get attention. We were accustomed to it in the local scene, because we’d watched Brian and the guys come up since the beginning.
It was never about the music. It was more of a voyeuristic thing to see who he was going to hit or whip or torture or gag or what he was gojng to pee on or set afire. In the beginning, we were all so young, it was I suppose just another “thing” we did being part of the scene. It was a happening. Just like any other show.
But this night was a few years later. I remember standing there, as this loud pounding aggressive music raged against a backdrop of posters that read “your parents hate you” god hates you” etc. thinking to myself “well this is becoming a viable thing now, this kind of deep level negativity as an influence. Imagine the polar opposite of that. That… that could be YOUR thing man. That already IS your thing. You just need to develop it more overtly so it’s clear what it is and so it has an actual effect.
After hearing that in my head I left the venue. A song or two in. I got what I came for. I entered that show feeling a bit lost and without a mission. I left a half hour later with a very clear mission. I was the anti-Manson. The Ambassador. Ah hah! In any way i could i would use the albums and the shows as a positive influence to affirm life and joy and peace and love. It was simple.
True story. Hadn’t thought about this or even remembered it till seeing this story this weekend.

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Challenging Times

June 10, 2020

I don’t know about you. But lately I’ve been starting to break, physically beginning to feel the mental and emotional strain caused by an unshakable intuitive feeling of fear that we’re deliberately being f*^ked with by some higher power or unstoppable force from beyond. Can’t say for sure what specific event it was in the last few days….

One would think by the time we spiraled from unfathomable numbers of deaths from a global virus into 3 months of being forcibly locked in our homes into a Great Depression-level economic collapse simultaneously contrasted with a frighteningly imbalanced wicked-seeming illogically bifurcated financial market into black lives finally mattering a little but not enough revealing a disturbing innate national racism yielding masses of protests for weeks on end down into a very sudden and discomforting disappearance of national leadership into a gutter of inanely childish and crazy behavior coming out of the White House on an hourly basis with far too many stories about a deranged self-obsessed psychopath occupying the position of POTUS (once considered “the most important job on earth” but now unanimously viewed as a laughing stock by the rest of the world) much of it coming from his own fellow Republicans — with fear not logic or nobility being the only apparent impediment to the whole lot of them banding together to publicly concede they made a terrible and dangerous mistake, meanwhile the other side of the sinister corporate duopoly that controls the entire country of 360 million people are attempting to run a man who it appears may not make it to the election let alone through a presidency and they won’t budge on their pick despite the overwhelming disinterest in him — the pressing question being WHY?!? — reported simultaneously with stories of a rapidly deteriorating and corrupt justice system and “serious concerns that the current president may be the biggest threat to national security by top military brass” simulcast with eerily under-covered impending wars between China and India, China and Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, China and Japan, Europe considering banning Americans (?!?), “white power” competing with “black power” for slogan of the year in a democratic republic allegedly the most proudly culturally diverse “melting pot” on earth, statues coming down faster than can be counted, Americans with guns lots of guns, Iran (jeez, seriously guys, now?!?) and Israel (seriously guys, now?!?) global food shortages, global food supply poisonings, random fireworks and gun shots every night for hours accompanying a triple digit increase in gun deaths and a constant onslaught of pandemic deniers and conspiracy theories flooding social discourse every day by normally intelligent folks but which boggle the mind… The hope of reopening quickly fading as the deniers are fast-morphing into the walking dead claiming “there’s nothing wrong with us. Stop staring at us. We’re fine,” pulling out their shotguns and rifles as if to signal “yes we’re as stupid and crazy as you’ve always Imagined, now go on and git”

But frankly I was doing okay. In spite of it all. Just doing my thing. Trying to survive, keep my family alive healthy and happy, maybe make a difference here and there when i could. And then suddenly I start getting these random messages from various friends around the world, normal intelligent well balanced folks usually, sheepishly talking about their recent bouts with anxiousness and depression… my initial response being “yeah of course man… the world is on fire… it’s normal… just try to hang on…it’ll get better.”

And then suddenly it starts hailing at around 6 pm. Out of nowhere on a hot wet sweltering steaming summer day, frozen ice starts falling from the sky. The sound is piercing and deafening. I keep wiping my eyes, opening and closing them, assuming I’m seeing things. Maybe i took a nap and I’m dreaming. It’s 90 degrees outside. How is there ice falling from the sky?

But we’re still not talking about the insane fact that the US military quietly admitted that it’s been seeing UFOs in the skies for a few decades now a few months back.

The problem isn’t all the bad news. It’s the overwhelming quantity of it, combined with the new surreal strangeness of it all and the fact that it’s so damn alarming out of our hands and weird that most people are going numb to it. I get it. Eat sleep work eat sleep work. Invent a God because there’s no visible way out of this insanity at our level. Note to self: add prayer to eat sleep work. Maybe it’ll help.

And our kids. God our poor f*^king kids. That whole generation… All three of them really… I keep trying to underplay how bad everything is when they break down and cry and mention it… I try to play it cool, like we all had our problems. This is no different.

It occurs to me that none of this is new. What generation hasn’t felt this way since humankind first awoke to self awareness on planet earth? Frightened confused boggled overwhelmed terrified. Sumerian Babylonian Persian Greek Roman Jewish Christian Muslim Gods were all constructed from such base human feelings.

Compared to the Ice Age or the so called Dark Ages or the Plague surely we have it better… It’s become a daily meditation. But honestly… the thought though completely rational doesn’t make me feel any better. How is it for you?

The Divided States of America — The Two State Solution

November 3, 2019

Find the original essay

“Ultimately the only hopeful future I see for the United States is the end of the union. The East and West coasts should split off from the Midwest and the South and let them slide back into fascism on their own before they drag the rest of the continent down with them. You’ll have take in a lot of refugees, but at least you’ll know they’re people you want. The Civil War was a colossal waste of time. You should have cut those dropkicks loose while you had the chance.”

Duncan Kimball I summarily proposed this idea and seriously reviewed and contemplated the ramifications in an essay about 15 months ago. It is something that more people are talking about now here. I tend to agree with you on the idea in a general sense. It FEELS like a rational solution from the birds eye point of view.

A few things:

1. I don’t believe that either group would be opposed to the idea at this point as much as they might have 10-30 years ago. That gung-ho patriotism that Americans once purported to feel, 35 years ago for instance — exemplified by the tons of “yay America” songs that hit the Top 40, or even 18 years ago circa 9/11 – wrapped up in the once common idea that “we need to stay together to keep America strong” has long faded. People just argue and scream at each other now. From the comfort of their own private little niche groups of other like minded people.

2. The problem will come down to resources. Just as during the civil war these two disparate groups were really fighting over the fact that the North knew damn well it needed the agri resources of the South, the south will now argue that it needs the major industries of the Northeast and West Coast. Which is true. So both sides will be forced to have to negotiate a fair trade agreement and figure out how that’s going to work.

3. Do they separate as sovereign states but unified nationally re things like the military ala the EU?

4. Some opponents to this idea have pointed out that it wouldn’t be fair, because for example liberally leaning people would be forced to move, leave their families and jobs etc. And vice versa.

5. Wouldn’t these two already warring factions eventually wind up going to war over the various industries and resources that they both possess if they no longer have a federal mandate to stay together and get along?

6. Where do Independents like me fit in? I guess we’d be free to choose where we live….

7. Would we allow switching? If one is not happy with their chosen nation, would they be free to move a year or two or five years later?

8. How do we stop people from taking advantage of the system out of greed etc? People who will want to live in liberal America because those are “their people” but then want to live part time in “conservative America” for tax purposes etc? Or vice versa?

It’s a lot to work out. But THIS is definitely something I’d like to explore more.

Ability — Talented Versus Gifted

November 2, 2019

I wasn’t aware of this necessarily; but after seeing your post and contemplating it, what felt the most real and solid for me is that we (humans, not sure if it extends to all forms of consciousness) are born with a proclivity for heightened ability in some areas of being and doing, a “natural ability”; and limitations or weaknesses in other areas.

Not many people know or would guess this, but I love football. Everything about it. So it’s pretty common for me to casually walk around the house and comment “in my next life i am going to be a Super Bowl winning NFL quarterback!” Which makes my wife laugh. Because I’m a pretty small guy who doesn’t “appear” to be anything close to a football player. But I loved playing as a kid, like a lot of people. As we grew up it became clear that i wasn’t showing the “natural ability” for football thst one needed. Compared to other guys my age. In junior high our coach suggested i “try out for gymnastics or wrestling, because you’re too small to keep playing on this team son”. True story. I’ll never forget that day. I was bummed but not surprised. It was clear that “I” was not born with the same abilities that some of the other guys my age had.

(And perhaps comparing/sorting/categorizing goes along with this idea of “ability”. What we mean by “natural ability”… Versus what? Versus who?) We can see it. In others. In ourselves. Kids who are “just born with a natural ability” for something(s). As if they brought it with them from another lifetime.

Ironically for me it was this football moment at the age of around 10 that compelled me to start taking music more seriously. Not being allowed to stay on the team w my friends. I had always been great at music. Since we could remember. So I didnt take it seriously. It was easy. Not a challenge like playing football. Hah! Wow. Transparent belief!

Are there abilities that you possess so easily and naturally that you dismiss them? Overlook them? Underestimate them?

Reincarnation: being born with a natural ability st something. It’s fascinating to ponder 🤔… abilities perfected over lifetimes. If one is inclined to believe in such things.

Other theories say “it’s genetic”. It’s in the blood. Passed on genetically… Can all abilities be passed on genetically? Or just some?

Genetics we now know play a big role in what we’re good at, bad at, etc. But there are plenty of exceptions. Still plenty of missing pieces in our understanding. Both reincarnation and genetics could be true.

Still other theories posit that having an incredible ability at something comes from “practice practice practice”. Definitely plays a role. Doesn’t help in the “natural ability” department. Did Tom Brady become Tom Brady simply because he practiced a lot? Or Andre Agassi? Or Bob Dylan? (I’m not sure WHAT would or could help in the “natural ability” department — THAT is what I’d like to explore more… As a professional musician/recording artist who’s been around other professionals for the last 30 years I can state undoubtedly that some are just born with IT and some try really damn hard but just never quite get it. Referring to a wide variety of different skills, be it writing songs or playing lead guitar or being an incredible drummer. The key to our biz is KNOWING what you’re good at and perfecting it and not pretending to be good at things that you’re not. Because others notice it immediately. They see you. Because they are you. You’re not going to fool a room full of musicians that you’re an awesome drummer if you’re not. That shiz is born, not crafted, as we say.) But still yes practice is essential. In all my years of studying the greatest football players of all time, the one thing they all have in common is this never yielding dedication to practice. No matter what. Rain or shine. Sick or well. Every day for their entire life until that moment they reach the Super Bowl they practiced. It’s awe inspiring. All athletes seem to have it.

It seems to be a desire to be GREAT. Not just have ability.

So… were they BORN with a “natural ability” to be great at sports? And then perfected it through practice? What if they were never introduced to sports?

Will/does the person with an ability in something always eventually find that thing at some point? Regardless of whether it’s introduced to them or not?

Are there areas where you might have an incredible ability that you just haven’t discovered yet? 🤔

Something else just occurred to me: there are arenas/fields where one can learn and then practice to have a great ability in it. No “natural ability” necessary. There are other fields where it doesn’t matter how much one learns or practices; they’re never going to have as much ability as someone who was “born with a natural ability” in it. Categorizing those different fields would be an interesting experiment, to see if there is any collective alignment or corecept.

Sports, the arts, mathematics, ideation, mechanics, social skills, caring for others, oration? Interesting to contemplate 🤔.

Tired now. Peace and love to you all. Xoxo

Facebook Versus Twitter In An Existential Ethical Battle

October 31, 2019

If life were fair, we’d all be using Twitter instead of Facebook. But life is only fair in our imagination and the stories we tell ourselves through our movies and religions. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse in the ethically challenged world of Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg just returned from a speaking tour to promote Facebook’s official policy to allow political advertising on FB that blatantly lies or promotes untruths, a fact the Trump re-election campaign had already been taking advantage of, which is what prompted the formal public announcement. Zuckerberg also reiterated they will not be fact-checking political ads, claiming that lying in political ads “is an issue of freedom of speech”. (Since lying and spreading fallacious statements is a constitutional right.) But no one is buying it. Facebook employees reacted by sending the CEO a petition of protest stating they don’t agree with the policy. A few well known money managers liquidated Facebook’s stock from their portfolios stating they couldn’t own the company in good conscience because “Facebook’s blatant lack of integrity and constant assault on truth is disgusting”. Even longtime FB haters have been shocked by this latest policy decision. Analysts on yesterday’s earnings call threw Zuck plenty of life preservers hoping he would adjust or clarify the decision. But before he could say anything, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey beat him to the punch by Tweeting and issuing a press release (at the exact start time of FB’s earnings call) to announce it would no longer allow any political advertising on its platform globally due to the proliferation of fallacious and misleading statements, stating “political message influence should be earned, not bought.” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff went on record saying that “Facebook is the most dangerous company in the world today” (though he may have temporarily forgotten about Lockheed Martin et al.) calling them “the Big Tobacco of our time”. (Mark is a good guy but has always been prone to hyperbole.)

So… all around bad news right? Wrong. For us, yes. For the world, sure. But not for Facebook. Facebook reported yet another stellar earnings report last night. Advertising revenue has not decelerated, but continues to grow. Monthly and daily average user numbers are still growing. Facebook is one of the largest countries on planet earth, for perspective, with DAUs of 1.6 billion. Compared to only 150 million for TWTR. The companies aren’t comparable on any metric. Some on Main Street have voiced their concern by stopping using FB and switching to Instagram. The joke is obviously on them since Insta is FB.

For some, yesterday was an existential line in the sand, the ethical battle lines clearly drawn between the good and the bad, the heroic and villainous, the helpful versus harmful. Dorsey didn’t just abstain from making a judgment call that harms the world community for a profit, he took a bold step for conscious capitalism knowing it would negatively affect profits. Likewise Zuckerberg didn’t just not take an action that could have helped the world, he made a decision to generate more profits knowing it would be harmful.

But does anyone care? That’s the real question. In a world where evils like nuclear weapons, royalty, the Catholic Church, big tobacco, big oil, big Pharma, political lobbying, live organ harvesting in China, etc. have been traditionally routinely ignored and allowed to exist, it is hard to imagine that humanity’s good conscience is what’s going to stop Facebook from doing whatever it wants to despite how harmful it might be. But that may be the cynical viewpoint. Or the realistic one. One thing is certain though: Facebook exists for one reason only, to generate money. If it’s user base started to decline and it started losing money because people didn’t agree with its policies, it would change said policies overnight. I personally don’t enjoy Twitter but find it useful if not essential for certain things. Though I wholeheartedly respect and admire the company and it’s executive team. On the other hand i thoroughly enjoy Facebook and Insta as a user. Though I loathe the company and it’s executives. It’s tricky for all of us I’m sure. I would love to see us as a community collectively take FB down or force them to grow a conscience. Just thinking out loud.

More Flying and Floating While Dreaming

October 12, 2019

PLEASE SHARE. (Prelude: I literally just woke up. (Late night.) So pardon the potential rough grammatical edges of this post, but if I keep my eyes closed after awakening from dreams I can still see and recall them vividly. So I’m deliberately staying half asleep at the moment.) Let me give you slight context and then ask you all for your experiences.

As loyal readers will know, I started dreaming of being able to fly in 2004. Though it started out as me taking running starts and then doing super long leaps thru the air, 200-500 yards at a time. It continued to evolve, in dreams, over the last 15 years. And now I easily float/fly around rooms, or through the air outside.

I just awoke from a dream where we are all at a big avatar course and I needed to get my books from the room so I just floated thru the room to go get them and not disturb anyone.

A FEW NOTES: yes it’s me, my physical body. I’m not ethereal or astral. I’m physically flying. People see me. I’m flat and parallel to the ground, about 5-10 feet in the air depending on what my goal is, with my arms outstretched. No it’s not “easy”, I still have to work at it in the dream, talk myself through it each time in terms of how to move and shift my weight to stay afloat and aim and get to where I want to go etc. It’s a method that I’ve evolved over the last 15 years. Maybe a few hundred dreams now. But only in dreams (I guess?). I can get afloat and parallel to the ground easily now. Ascend to whatever heights I want to. I usually get nervous or scared when I go too high in the air. So I tend to stay at about 5-15 feet. I can turn easily. I can descend and land easily.

When I began waking up this morning, it was the last thing I was doing in the dream, so it was still so fresh and real that I asked Princess Little Tree if I often flew in real life, or was it just in my dreams. She assured me I have not yet managed to do it in real life, but i dream and talk and write about it a lot. I tried anyway, not quite believing her, but alas i could not float up. F*^king gravity. Very frustrating.

Here’s where YOU come in: I am curious about others who frequently dream of being able to float through the air or fly or even leap long distances. Anything that defies gravity. I am more curious about you doing it physically i.e. with your body, not astrally (astrally we do it all the time in dreams. So it’s not… you know.) How do you do it? Are you parallel to the ground? How do you propel yourself? How do you ascend? How do you turn? How high can you go? Anything in this realm re flying or floating please feel free to share.

CONTEMPLATION: I’d like to first discuss the physical mechanics of the phenomenon, permitting I’m not crazy and the only one here, and then separately discuss the metaphorical ramifications. I’m more interested in the physical aspects of the paradigm, of your paradigm if you’ve experienced this… as i believe it is leading to our eventually being able to do this in real life. I’ve become quite convinced of it over the last 25 years. I’ve tinkered with designs for various body packs to machines that suck gravity out of large spaces, you name it. But to be honest i am now leaning toward thinking that we will do it using our minds. SO I’m curious what others have come up with.

Again, the metaphorical ramifications of these kind of dreams… we’ve covered that a lot… My wife, God bless her, has taken too many pages of notes on that subject thru the years while I lie there pondering it aloud while half-in-dream. My excitement is about YOUR physical mechanical experiences and what you’ve discovered. Feel free to share ANYthing you remember or that comes to mind.

Thanks, E

Junk and Stuff

September 21, 2019

Every weekend we attack the boxes and attempt to unpack a little more. But moving from a large house in the middle of nowhere to a small apt in the city entails abandoning most of your belongings. especially when you own at least one or more of everything in existence. You can’t think of a thing that’s not in these boxes. It’s an immobilizing endeavor. Entirely overwhelming. To pick and choose what to keep and what to give away.

After living out of just 4 suitcases for 4 years, we are absolutely stupefied and overwhelmed by how much stuff there is. We became very accustomed to not having anything. No stuff. Which affords a ton of free attention and creative energy. You’re free. And now we can barely walk from so much stuff. It feels as though the stuff is very important. You’ve collected it your whole life. Or it was gifted to you by people you love. It’s more than just stuff in that regard. It has incalculable value. Some of it. Yet now we question the true cost of keeping “things”. Versus living in a metropolitan city. That’s the core choice when it comes down to it. A very first world problem, granted.

It keeps occurring to me “what if a natural disaster just wiped all this out but we lived? Wouldn’t that make this all easier? If we just had no choice in the matter?” What’s ultimately important? This circling idea prompted me to give away my entire library of books CDs and vinyl. Tens of thousands. For those that know me well and knew my library, i did it…. every album ever released in the world since recorded music. Every book. Every movie. It was inevitable in the face of the new digital world we live in where we can access nearly everything from our cell phones.

Yes I know, it’s not the same. That’s true. It’s just not. Not the books, nor the albums. The experience leaves one cold and empty. Experiencing media digitally. Though I dont yet quite know why. But I gave it all away anyway. Because it’s an entire room of just a library. Of media. Hundreds of boxes. And rooms are preciously priceless in a city. If one has two bedrooms in NYC your friends exclaim “oh my God look at this place!” their mouth hanging open. Weird. But true. Kinda sad that we do it. Why do we do it? Who gives a f*^% if you live in a city or not?

I’m still mourning this huge release of my library. Palpable painful sadness. Shock. I keep reminding myself to consider the Russian oligarchs during the Bolshevik Revolution. They lost everything and fled with nothing. People do this. They endure much worse. It’s insane that that’s the thought that keeps me sane i think. I’m a monster. Stuff is just stuff. Who cares?

Life though… that’s everything. Living. Breathing. Pulsating. Life. Vietnam. WW II. Darfur. Syria. The images haunt me. I am brought to shame again and again by the wasted emotion and importance we afford to whether or not we keep a wedding present. Life is irreplaceable. But this… this is just a thing. The choice seems an essential one. City versus stuff. You simply can’t have both. One is forced to contend with it. It’s a private revolution. But self imposed. The importance imagined.

I harbor a secret longing for a war or catastrophe to come along and sort this out for us by destroying everything we own. To remind us what’s important in life. Which leads me to quietly acknowledge that I’ve already made the decision. I just haven’t fully integrated the emotional impact of the tradeoff. Which fills me with guilt and self hatred. Who mourns belongings in the face of so much chaos pain and suffering in the world around them?

I am reminded of Oscar Schindler. How much i related to him before his awakening. And how much i feared and dreaded the reality of his final day’s post-materialism. Post apocalypse. That raw flailing and unnerving humanity. Not getting it until it was too late. The Shakespearean tragedy of a life ill spent.

It’s not too late now though i think. It took me twenty-five years to get here. My god. Have i finally started to wake up? I have time to help more. To address more of the world’s pain and suffering. To be less selfish and shamefully material. To at least try. I am suddenly relieved. Lighter. More free attention. Priorities have fallen into place.

It is not too late for me yet. The war is not over. The holocausts have not entirely transpired. We’re in the middle of the film still. I can choose to change before the lights come up. Not wait until the very end. I’ve been terrified of this moment my entire life. But I’m not sure I can go back now.